תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

equally bow down to receive his commands, and join in pro5 fessing their submission to his Church, as we learn from

Daniel : “ And judgment shall sit," says he, " that the kingdom and power, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, may be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all kings shall serve him and shall obey him," vii. 26, 27. " He shall rule from sea to sea," says the psalmist speaking of Christ, “and from the river unto the ends of the earthAnd all the kings of the earth shall adore him; all nations shall serve him." Psalrn lxx. 8, 11.

The prophet Zachary acquaints us of the same, thus : " And the Lord shall be king over all the earth : in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name shall be one,” xiv. 9: his name shall be one, or there shall be but one religion over the whole earth. These are the halcyon days of the Christian people, during which the Almighty pours forth the abundance of his spiritual and temporal blessings. To the storms of persecution and war succeed the calm of peace and the sunshine of joy and prosperity. And to this period seems to belong the following admonition:

Apoc. xiv. 13. “And I heard," says St. John, “a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. For henceforth now, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours: for their works follow them.” Or rather, according to the Greek text: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth. Certainly, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours : but their works follow them.” Those are here pronounced blessed, who from henceforth, that is, from the time of the extermination of Antichrist and all external enemies, or who, during the time of peace, having no expectations of the crown of martyrdom, nevertheless live in the constant practice of virtue, and so merit to die in the favour of their Lord. The Spirit or Holy Ghost confirms the sentence of their happiness, not only because at the moment of their departure their hard labours and penitential exercises cease, but their souls are ad

mitted to a glorious immortality, the recompense of their good - works.

Such is the extraordinary happiness of this period of time, that, as in the days of the birth of Christianity, so now the supernatural gifts of the Holy Ghost descend plentifully upon the zealous Christians. “And it shall come to pass after this,” says the Lord by Joel," that I will pour out my spirit upon

of them to abandon the worship of their Creator, and to substitute idolatry in its place; that is, in reality, the worship of Satan himself, and thus he seduced the whole world. At the rise of Christianity, we see him exerting his utmost efforts to crush it in its birth: for which purpose he stimulated the Roman emperors, and others, to oppose with all their might the propagation of the Christian religion. Christ, with his superior power, frustrated all these attempts; and expelled Satan from the face of the earth, and confined him in the infernal dungeon, Apoc. ch. xx.; where he is to remain for an appointed period of time, after the expiration of which he will be re- leased for a short while. His employment will then be to reestablish idolatry, and to persecute the Christian religion. Antichrist will be his great instrument for these purposes. But after the extermination of that son of perdition, and the destruction of Gog, Satan himself will then be remanded back to his infernal prison, never more to go forth from it.—Now to resume the thread of our history:

The expulsion of Satan from the earth, who was the author of idolatry, and the extermination of Antichrist, who was its supporter, are followed by the extirpation of idolatry itself. For such seems to be the language of the prophets : “ The loftiness of men shall be bowed down,” says Isaiah, “and the haughtiness of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And idols shall be utterly destroyed," ii. 17, 18. Thus also speaks the prophet Sophonias: “The Lord shall be terrible upon them, and shall consume all the gods of the earth," ii. 11. In like manner we see the same work of the divine hand announced to us by the prophet Zachary: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I will destroy the names of idols out of the earth, and they shall be remembered no more,” xiii. 2. It is fit the offspring should follow the parent, and that idolatry should disappear with Satan.

And now we seem to be arrived at the glorious epocha of the triumph of the Church over all her enemies. The tyrants, that domineered over her, are crushed; the boisterous winds of persecution are ceased; and the anger of God, before inflamed by the excessive wickedness of mankind, is now appeased and gives way to mercy. Idolatry is vanished, and the Cross of Christ is the sole standard that is acknowledged and resorted to. Christ has suppressed all adverse powers, both earthly and infernal, and now extends his dominion from one extremity of the earth to the other. People and kings

[ocr errors]

equally bow down to receive his commands, and join in professing their submission to his Church, as we learn from Daniel : “And judgment shall sit," says he, " that the kingdom and power, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, may be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all kings shall serve him and shall obey him," vii. 26, 27. “He shall rule from sea to sea," says the psalmist speaking of Christ, “and from the river unto the ends of the earthAnd all the kings of the earth shall adore him; all nations shall serve him." Psalm lxx. 8, 11.

The prophet Zachary acquaints us of the same, thus : " And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name shall be one,” xiv. 9 : his name shall be one, or there shall be but one religion over the whole earth. These are the halcyon days of the Christian people, during which the Almighty pours forth the abundance of his spiritual and temporal blessings. To the storms of persecution and war succeed the calm of peace and the sunshine of joy and prosperity. And to this period seems to belong the following admonition:

Apoc. xiv. 13. “ And I heard,” says St. John, “ a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. For henceforth now, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours: for their works follow them." Or rather, according to the Greek text : “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth. Certainly, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours : but their works follow them.Those are here pronounced blessed, who from henceforth, that is, from the time of the extermination of Antichrist and all external enemies, or who, during the time of peace, having no expectations of the crown of martyrdom, nevertheless live in the constant practice of virtue, and so merit to die in the favour of their Lord. The Spirit or Holy Ghost confirms the sentence of their happiness, not only because at the moment of their departure their hard labours and penitential exercises cease, but their souls are admitted to a glorious immortality, the recompense of their good works.

Such is the extraordinary happiness of this period of time, that, as in the days of the birth of Christianity, so now the supernatural gifts of the Holy Ghost descend plentifully upon the zealous Christians. “And it shall come to pass after this," says the Lord by Joel," that I will pour out my spirit upon

all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy : your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover, upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my Spirit. And I will show wonders in heaven, and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood; before the great and dreadful day of the Lord does come," ii. 28, &c. While the bounties of God flow in a full stream upon mankind, we see nevertheless he thinks fit to send, at times, warnings of the approaching great and dreadful day of the Lord, by signs, and wonders in hea. ven and earth, agreeably to what we read in the Apocalypse under the sixth seal. The all-bountiful God desires, that all should watch and be prepared for the great day of judgment, which may be supposed not to be far distant at that time. For the same reason Christ, after “the battle of the great day of the Almighty God," A poc. xvi. 14, immediately proclaims; “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Blessed is the man, that keepeth solicitously his garments of virtue and good works, lest at Christ's coming he be found naked and exposed to shame and condemnation.

If we turn our eyes on another side, we see a beautiful picture, exhibited to us by the prophets, of the temporal prosperity which will be enjoyed at this period of time by the Jews, that is, the Jews changed into Christians, under whose name may be comprehended the whole body of the Christian people. Among the many passages relating to this subject, we shall recite a few.

Joel, after describing the great slaughter in the vale of Josaphat, thus continues,

Chap. iii. 17. “ And you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Sion, my holy mountain: and Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall pass through it no more.

V. 18. “ And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down sweetness, and the hills shall flow with milk: and waters shall flow through all the rivers of Juda : and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the torrent of thorns.

V. 19. “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom a wilderness destroyed : because they have done unjustly against the children of Juda, and have shed innocent blood in their land.

V. 20. “And Judæa shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to generation and generation.”

Ezechiel speaks in the following manner :

Chap. xxxvii. 21. “And thou shalt say to them: thus saith the Lord God: behold, I will take the children of Israel from the midst of the nations whither they are gone: and I will gather them on every side, and will bring them to their own land.

V. 24. “And my servant David* shall be king over them, and they shall have one shepherd, they shall walk in my judgments, and shall keep my commandments, and shall do them.

V. 25. “And they shall dwell in the land which I gave to my servant Jacob, wherein your fathers dwelt, and they shall dwell in it, they and their children, and their children's children, for ever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.

V. 26.." And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will establish them, and will multiply thern, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for ever,”' &c.

The same prophet, after relating the destruction of Gog, pursues thus, or rather the Almighty by his mouth :

Chap. xxxix. 22. “And the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.

V. 26. “And they shall hear their confusion, and all the transgressions wherewith they have transgressed against me, when they shall dwell in their land securely, fearing no man.

V. 28. “ And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I caused them to be carried away among the nations: and I have gathered them together unto their own land, and have not left any of them there.

V. 29. “And I will hide my face no more from them, for I have poured out my spirit upon all the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.”.

The prophet Amos gives us also a pleasing description of the same prosperity.

Chap. ix. 13. “ Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of the grapes of him that soweth seed: and the mountains shall drop sweetness, and every hill shall be tilled.

V. 14. “ And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel : and they shall build the abandoned cities, and in habit them: and they shall plant vineyards, and shall drink the

* Christ, the Messiah.

« הקודםהמשך »